Strings

By: Kendall Grey

Hard Rock Harlots Book One



Acknowledgments





Thanks to Renee Coffey for designing another beautiful cover; Noelle Pierce for early feedback, suggestions, and sprints at Starbucks; Emma Smith for the list of hilarious sexual euphemisms; Jenn Sommbersby Young for stellar editorial guidance, patience, and friendship; Maya Lynn Watson for brainstorming the awesome series title, “Hard Rock Harlots”; the members of the STRINGS Facebook group for keeping me motivated with awesome visual stimulation, kind words, and unwavering support.

As always, big love goes to my friends and family for putting up with my riotous shenanigans, foul mouth, and filthy mind.






My Boyfriend Left Me for Jesus





Twenty-five years ago today, I exited my mama’s womb center stage and stormed Planet Earth, guns blazing, taking no prisoners. Crashes of lightning and thunder announced my birth. A cyclone killed nearly 600 people in Bangladesh and left half a million homeless. I’m not saying I had anything to do with that shit, but when a force like mine is born, the Universe takes notice. Cause and effect. Yin and yang. Pomp and circumstance.

Mom says I screamed nonstop for an hour after she squirted me out. I’ve taken a few breaks to catch my breath since, but for the most part, I’m still screaming today.

My name is Letty Dillinger, and I was born to rock your face off.

If you come to one of my shows, you’ll leave either wanting to be me or wanting to do me.

My music has that effect on people. Or it will once I bust out of these shackles of banality and show the world what I’m made of.

I’m the lead singer and bass player for an all-chick, ’70s-style rock band, Cherry Buzz Float. Yeah, the name’s a little lame, but guys like cherries and buzzes and tits that float on the water.

Me and my bandmates play up the bad-girl attitude to appeal to our audience, but I’m not really that pretentious. For me, life is about the music. That amazing ride you catch when the notes and rhythms snap into place, and you connect with the human beings involved in shaping audio beauty.

As much as I love the orgasms my bass gives me when I sit on the monitor and hit a low C, music is even better when people jump into the fray of physics and take it to a higher level.

Music is about my drummer Jinx—the female version of John Fucking Bonham on crack—beating the shit out of her skins in perfect sync with my bass vibrating the walls like an earthquake.

Music is about fishing for the right notes to match Kate’s awesome guitar riffs and complementing her screaming highs with my window-rattling lows.

Music is about freeing the lyrics my heart holds dear and watching meaning root, blossom, and spread like a virus across our fans’ faces.

Music is about The Rock, the roll, and the crazy shit that comes with the territory.

At least when I’m on stage, it is.

Real life is a lot less glamorous. I only play live a couple times a month these days. The band’s not really moving in the direction I’d like it to, and I sure as shit ain’t making any cash playing frat parties for drunk, rich squids.

Fuckin’ dreams. Who needs ’em?

I live in Athens, Georgia. It’s December 1. Cold as a witch’s tit in a brass bra. The college kids are wrapping up fall semester and heading home soon. Trixies, squids, and townies troll downtown, drunk and looking for temporary love when they should be banging their books at the library. I glance wistfully out the window from my barstool perch. Instead of raising hell with my friends, I’m sitting alone at BAR-k, the bar whose clever name salutes the local football team (go Dawgs!), on my birthday, wondering where my life went wrong.

“Why the long face?” Bartender Rob tosses a stained white towel over his shoulder and leans across the nicked wood. He rests his meaty elbows in a puddle of liquor leftovers. I eye the spot and manage to keep my tongue in my mouth.

No licking the bar. You’re not drunk enough. Yet.

I do love me some booze, and I’m living off the coins I found in my couch cushions until payday. With a calloused index finger, I stir my vodka martini—the one birthday present I allowed my broke-ass self to buy.

“The short version? My boyfriend left me for Jesus. I’m stuck in a dead-end waitressing job, clogging people’s arteries at Fat Johnny’s Barbeque Shack, making jack shit. I’m earning even less busting ass at the gig I want to be doing.”